I want to give thanks to the dear woman who suffered so much. To her wisdom—like no other; to her presence—like no other.

I want to thank her for her humor, her memory, her stubbornness, her honesty, her grace, her anger.

She will walk along some river—where else?—and she will know her way home by how the air feels, by the wind.

There was nothing like her; there was no one like her. No one will cry mercy like her.

This is the poem of hers I am reading today, from The Book of Light.

it was a dream

in which my greater self
rose up before me
accusing me of my life
with her extra finger
whirling in a gyre of rage
at what my days had come to.
i pleaded with her, could i do,
oh what could i have done?
and she twisted her wild hair
and sparked her wild eyes
and screamed as long as
i could hear her
This.  This.  This.

Copyright © 2010 by Gerald Stern. Used by permission of the author. All rights reserved.


"it was a dream," from The Book of Light by Lucille Clifton. Copyright © 1992 by Lucille Clifton. Reprinted with permission of Copper Canyon Press. All rights reserved.